– Using an air purifier for my kid’s playroom

Like virtually all parents, I want the best for my boy. Additionally, I’m like all parents in the sense that the best doesn’t necessarily correlate with my buying power. While I can go miles for my children, I’m only human – some things are just too expensive or difficult to get for our little ones. Still, I will do anything I can to make sure my boy is healthy at a minimum! That’s why it was so heartbreaking to see him suffering from allergies when he wasn’t even a year old. He would make these loud throat-clearing sounds that sounded horrible, and I felt awful for him. That’s when I started looking into what I could do to improve his health that didn’t require medicine, as he was too young to take anything on a regular basis. That’s when I learned about using an air purification system in my home. Air purifying systems work by cleansing the air of pollutants as it circulates through the home’s supply and returns ducts, and creates a far cleaner air quality inside the house. I was sold on buying one and having it installed as part of my home’s heating and air conditioning system, and I must say – our lives have never been the same, and that’s totally for the better! My son’s nasty cough and stuffy nose have all but disappeared, and he’s much more like himself – the smiling little man that brings joy to my heart every time I pick him up from daycare. Like I said, I can’t do everything for my children – but that doesn’t mean I won’t try!

HVAC equipment

Using an old fireplace is painfully frustrating

Living in an old victorian style mansion certainly has its perks. My friends from work and from my personal life love to come over and tour the house, just to see all the little nooks and neat architecture. My nephew loves coming to visit, because his favorite pastime while visiting is to search for hidden crawl spaces and other tiny alcoves around the house. I don’t blame him – there’s quite a few, at least a dozen that I know of. As much as I do enjoy living in this massive house, it can get lonely. It’s just me and my sister living here. No, it’s not one of those horror film set-ups where she’s crazy and I look after her! We inherited the house from my parents after they passed, on the condition that we refuse to demolish or renovate any part of the house unless it’s a safety concern. They knew there were a lot of issues, too, which is why they included that clause in the will. First on that list of safety concerns was definitely the fireplace, which was massive and charming but old, decrepit and in severe need of a sweep! More than once, my sister and I attempted to create a nice, warming fire in the pit, only to put it out moments later as smoke filled the house. There’s an old furnace in the basement that uses coals to function, but our parents were furious any time we tried to use it! Sure this old furnace can’t be as dangerous to use as the fireplace, right? Well, we had an HVAC specialist come through the other day and perform a site reading for the ductwork of the house. As it turns out, the furnace wasn’t connected to the ductwork at all – it would’ve just made the basement incredibly hot. Still, we wanted to make use of the furnace, so we started doing some extensive research to see what we could do to connect the furnace to the ductwork of the house. It’s a lot more expensive than you think to connect a hundred year-old furnace to relatively new ductwork, I’ll tell you that much!

climate control

Preventive maintenance for my home boiler

Residential boilers are an awesome choice for heating a house if you ask me. They’re very quiet and much cleaner to operate compared to central heating or a conventional fireplace. Plus, they gradually introduce heat throughout the house, and can be used to “power” radiant floor heating systems that rely on hot water to function. As much as I enjoy my boiler system, it’s not without issues. Every year, I run my own little preventive maintenance check-up on the system. The check-up begins with the system being turned off – something I didn’t think I would need to clarify, but my own friends have attempted to clean their systems while they’re running! Once the system is powered down, I’ll check out the pilot light that heats the boiler. More often than not, I’ve dealt with a faulty pilot light that needed to be cleaned or replaced, and I would’ve spent a hefty sum of money on an HVAC professional’s visit just to tell me the same thing. After that, I’ll make sure there’s plenty of water pressure. I use a steam boiler, so I just have to check the sight glass and see that it’s at the right setting. Last, I always run the system for an hour, and listen for a rumbling sound. That sound usually means that there’s a buildup of minerals inside the boiler, which is causing the boiler to struggle since the internal environment isn’t pristine. If that rumbling noise is heard, I’ll call my regular heating and air conditioning mechanic to come in and investigate the inner workings of the boiler. The last thing I want to do is risk opening this thing up myself, and not being able to put it back together. Doing these little check-ups on my boiler has helped me immensely over the past few years, and it gives me a great gauge of how well my system is performing. I heavily recommend doing the same if you have a boiler system at home!

additional info

Lawn service isn’t for everyone

You always hear people talking about how they have the “hardest” job. In my experience, everyone’s idea of what makes a job “hard” is different. Some people think a mentally challenging job is where difficulty lies, while others say a job simply needs to be physically tough to be hard. One thing’s for sure – any job that is equal parts physical and mental would be the hardest job of all! For those willing to take on such a daunting choice of occupations, I submit to you one option: Lawn maintenance! If you’ve never been outside in the hot summer, working far away from any air conditioning of any kind, and painstakingly manicuring a landscape, you simply don’t know how hard a job can be! I learned this first-hand last summer, when I helped my brother with his landscaping business. From sunrise to sunset, we worked in dozens of yards, cleaning up bushes and perfectly trimming the grass. As if the hot weather wasn’t bad enough, it was even more difficult due to working outside with no access to A/C. Every day, I dreamt of working in a cool office space, with cold air blowing down on me from multiple air vents. Instead, the closest I came to a chilled work environment was when I could step into a gas station or fast food joint for lunch. It may have only been for half an hour, but I made a point to find the air vent in those places and stand directly under it to cool down. Outdoor work environments give you such a deep appreciation for the welcoming embrace of cold air, which you can only find in a cushy office it seems. It’s no wonder I decided to take on an internship for a bank where I handled data entry for this past summer. It was boring, but at least I had excellent air conditioning to keep me cool and comfortable!

ac program

My a/c is done for

I sat at my laptop getting some task done the other day, when I heard an unusual and different sound. At first I thought I was just hearing the grumbling of my stomach because I hadn’t eaten anything yet that morning. I continued to listen for some time, and after that I heard it again. It was a different gurgling sound, and it seemed to be coming from the cooling system itself. Anxious, I called my husband and asked him if he could hear the noise in the room. He also said that it seemed to be coming from the cooling system, so he went outside and ripped the cooling system open. As he felt through all of the components, he evaluated the coolant level and that was fine, as was the fan which seemed to be working fine. The rest of the components were all in good shape, so he and I were at a loss. He put the cooling system back together and he shrugged, but both of us didn’t hear the sound for the next week. We thought maybe something had just been loose – It had happened before. The cooling system seemed to be finally working fine, so we just went about our days. That weekend, both of us were in the home office, and my husband sat there with an awful look on his face. He said he didn’t hear the cooling system running at all, so he went back outside and he evaluated the A/C equipment once more. Nothing was working! That’s when he called the Heating & A/C supplier. They told us the A/C equipment was just outdated, so the sound was just the A/C trying to do its work for just a little longer. Well that’s kind of sick, knowing we basically heard our A/C unit dying!

a/c professional

Looking forward to a new AC unit

Today is a rough day for me. I am finally sitting down and doing some much needed work. My last week has been very hectic and I’ve not been able to do very much. It seems I was always on the phone and I’ve been trying to get a lot of paperwork finished. The more I have done, the more there is to do. I am also trying to clean up a room and clear it out so my husband can do some repairs in there for me. I would like to turn it into a computer room for myself. We don’t have central air conditioning in our home, because we only have a month or so where we need any AC. We have an AC unit in our bedroom and in the main living area, and we are quite comfortable most of the time. We needed to figure out how we were going to cool off the spare room that would now be my computer room. We had truly considered just getting another window AC unit for the room, but with three of them running, it going to be a bit expensive. I voted for central air conditioning but after looking at how expensive it would be to install, we backed off on that idea. Instead we found a small ductless mini-split unit that could be the answer to all of our questions. My husband did his due diligence and he figured that it would be perfect for the size of the room. He and I are able to easily install the mini-split AC unit by ourselves.

a/c serviceman

Dad’s HVAC business

I’ve been working with and for my father since I was fifteen years old. Dad has owned an HVAC business for over twenty five years and has built up a substantial following and reputation. It was a no-brainer for me to decide that I wanted to follow in his footsteps, since I would be continuing the family business with pride. One thing that I know I will be changing is that I want my business to emphasize sustainable energy and environmentally-friendly practices in heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Today’s HVAC systems are incredibly complex and are designed to interface with energy-saving devices, as well as software that controls the equipment’s efficiency. When I take over the business, my workers will be trained to design and execute industry best practices to reduce the impact on the environment. I’ll also explore the best avenues for recycling and the usage of green products. I’ve already convinced my father to recycle all air filters, and none of our air filters ever end up in a landfill or on-site dumpster. Also, we place a high priority on purchasing HVAC models and parts that are made from recycled materials. In order to cut carbon dioxide emissions, we use only eco-friendly refrigerants. We aim to install nothing other than efficient HVAC systems that abide by EPA standard guidelines. Currently, my application has been submitted to become a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, whose membership I’ll include on my company branding. And even though I’ll be slowly making eco-friendly changes to Dad’s company, when I own it outright I will likely build a website which will emphasize each of these practices.

ac set up

Dehumidifier or air conditioner?

There’s nothing better than walking into a home that is air conditioned on a hot and humid day. It’s also a delight to walk into a basement that is nicely dehumidified and not damp and musty. So what is the difference between an air conditioned versus a dehumidified home, and is one better than the other? The basic differences are in how they operate and what results from each. Air conditioners remove hot air and replace it with cold, but doesn’t remove fungus. Dehumidifiers remove moisture and fungus from the air, but not the hot air itself. Air conditioners remove many allergens from the air, whereas dehumidifiers remove mold and fungus. With air conditioners, the main options to choose from are window units, ductless systems, and central air conditioning. And dehumidifiers types include desiccant, thermoelectric, and refrigerated coil. Next there are the various features that both air conditioners and dehumidifiers offer, which could ultimately be the deciding factor for a consumer. Are you looking for something that treats the air in just one or two rooms? Then you might be happy with a small, portable, easy to install dehumidifier. It’s also much cheaper than other options. If you have a basement room or rooms that smell musty and feel damp, a wise choice would be a dehumidifier which covers a wide range of space and also includes a sensor that detects the optimal level of fan speed and duration of the frost cycle. If it’s the above-ground rooms of the home that get very hot in addition to the feeling of dampness, then central air conditioning is the way to go. Finally, there’s the cost factor. Stand-alone dehumidifiers almost always cost less, but air conditioners that tackle both heat and dampness problems may be more efficient overall. Finally, dehumidifiers and air conditioners can be used together. The choices are many, but the features of both are what should be used to make your final decision.

cooling set up

We’re grown ups

Life insurance is one of those things that you never really think about when you’re young. I mean, back when my husband and I were in college together and we were still in our twenties, neither of us ever uttered the phrase “Life Insurance,” nor did we ever think about it. Even after we got married, we never purchased anything like a life insurance cash benefit or funeral coverage. We never looked into any type of life insurance at all until we had kids

           At that point, we started feeling like we should really start acting like grown ups. I guess that’s because we had these tiny little people who were completely dependent on us for everything! We made an appointment with an insurance agent who came out to our home one Friday night and gave us the whole speech about the importance of insuring yourself and your spouse and even your children. We ended up getting a really large whole life insurance policy, but it actually doesn’t really cost us very much every month.

              The rates and the benefits are locked in for the entire life of the policy, meaning that as long as we don’t miss any payments (I think they call them premiums), we are good to go. That way if, God forbid, anything bad happens to me or to my husband, we will be taken care of. At least financially. I really hate to think about having to use our life insurance benefits, but it actually is nice to know that the whole life benefits are there in case we do ever need them in the future.

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Getting a new heater

I don’t know what to do with my old gas furnace. The furnace up and quit on me at the end of winter. Since I did not need heating anymore, I choose to just leave it there dead. Now that the summer has passed and it is getting colder again, I am not sure what to do. I am thinking there is no way that I can revive my heating system. It died months ago and has been left sitting with no heating tune up for a long time. If that is the case, what do I do with it? I wonder if I can call a HVAC business, buy a new heating system and have them take the old one off my hands. Do HVAC providers do that? I am thinking that they might not want my old furnace. It is all rusted, dirty and over 10 years old. Any heating part that they could salvage would most definitely be ruined by rust. The model will have been obsolete too. If the heating company does not take my gas heater though, I don’t know how to remove my old furnace. The gas heater has hookups and a flue system that I would have to detach. Then I would have to get some strong men to help me lift the furnace and take it out of my home. After that, I would have to drive it somewhere. Can you take a furnace to the dump? I wonder if I could scrap the metal on the gas furnace and make a profit.